It was a mutual love of college football that first brought Colleen and Paul together in October of 2012. "I was living in an old Victorian house in Colorado Springs that was converted into apartments, and my neighbor was a friend of Paul's," Colleen remembers. Almost two years later, on a random Tuesday (says Colleen, "We know it was random because I got engaged with a raincoat tied around my waist!"), the couple took a hike just west of Denver. "It was drizzling when we started, but by the time we got to the top, the sun was peeking out. I stopped to take a picture of the rainbow, and when I turned around, Paul was on one knee asking me to marry him!" Colleen says.
Though they're not Colorado natives, it's where Paul and Colleen met and fell in love, so they knew it was where they wanted to get married. They headed north of Boulder to Lyons and found the gorgeous Lyons Farmette & River Bend, nestled between a river and towering cliffs. "We wanted something elegant and natural, so we kept the color scheme very neutral and planned a romantic dinner in the middle of this rugged canyon," says the bride. With lush florals, gold accents, and beautiful Colorado sunshine, you'll fall in love with this October 10, 2015, wedding, photographed by Kerinsa and planned by We Tie The Knots.
Modern calligraphy and classic white paper came together in this sleek, sophisticated invitation.
Colleen is tall ("I'm actually a little taller than Paul!" she says), so she chose sparkly flats over heels. She paired the glam shoes with a silver clutch that her sisters and sister-in-law also carried on their wedding days — and a stunning ring, of course!
Colleen captured the relaxed, romantic vibe perfectly with her Monique Lhuillier wedding dress. "It was the first gown I spotted, but I didn't immediately try it on," she says. "I loved the fitted sheath silhouette, the feminine lace, and the unique twist from the illusion neckline and layered skirt."
Her lush bouquet, by Liz Griffith of Cori Cook Floral Design, combined dahlias, garden roses, freesia, and ranunculus in shades of ivory and blush.
"I went to Bella Bridesmaids with my sisters, sister-in-law, and friend before I'd even found a dress of my own," says Colleen. The mix of neutral colors and styles ended up inspiring the color scheme for the rest of the wedding.
The bridesmaids carried smaller versions of the bride's bouquet, with added pops of peach and brighter pink. The groomsmen's boutonnieres were a mix of white and green flowers, seeded eucalyptus, and dark leaves, which popped against their classic tuxedos (with Paul in a white bow tie).
The open-air ceremony took place with the river in the background. Café lights were strung from the trees, and the aisle was flanked on either end by arrangements of roses, hydrangeas, and candles in modern lanterns.
The four ring bearers walked down the aisle, hand in hand, followed by the oldest flower girl. "We had five, but she was the only one old enough to walk down the aisle by herself. She waved like a Disney princess on a parade float!" Colleen laughs.
Deciding not to get married in a church was a big decision for Paul and Colleen, so they wanted a spiritual space for their vows. They worked with their officiant to create a format for their vows, then each wrote their own following the same theme. "I was hoping I would be less emotional if our vows weren't a surprise, so we emailed them to one another the week before the wedding," says Colleen. Unfortunately it didn't work — "I immediately started crying when the ceremony started!"
"We are a little bit city, a little bit outdoorsy, so we tried to combine that into our wedding," says Colleen. "Our venue engaged both sides of our personalities, both laid-back and elegant."
The escort and place cards were Colleen's only DIY project. "The escort cards were easy, but the place cards were a little more involved. I saw them on Pinterest and thought 'That can't be too hard!' — the death sentence of any DIY project — and ended up hand-painting gold stripes on 140 cards. That was enough for me!"
Personalization was important to this duo, so they created custom cocktail napkins and koozies adorned with their names in an a Colorado-appropriate leafy wreath.
The couple reused their ceremony flowers to flank the entrance to the reception tent, adding extra candles for a romantic glow. Inside, gold candlesticks and flatware popped against the soft pink hues used on each table, and a sprig of greenery was tucked into every napkin.
Centerpieces combined flowing greenery, ranunculus, roses, and dahlias in shades of pink that were all arranged in ornate footed bowls. Geometric lanterns kept the space feeling modern.
The menu was based on foods the couple loves to cook at home. Hors d'oeuvres were bite-sized caprese with white balsamic foam and Dungeness crab cakes inspired by Colleen's mom's recipe. For dinner, the pair served a choice of Colorado buffalo medallion or seared salmon with herbed pistou.
Dessert was a three-tiered vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. Fresh blooms accented the textured design.
"We created a list of songs we wanted our DJ to play, but what we really wanted was to get as many people on the dance floor as possible," says the bride. "Our wedding was about us, but also about all the people who have gotten us to where we are in life."
Her advice is to keep things in perspective. "The end result will be the same no matter what: You'll be married. Frustrations happen, but even if things aren't totally perfect, it will still be the best day."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Lyons Farmette & River Bend || Wedding Planner: We Tie the Knots || Bride's Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair & Makeup: Fluff Denver || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids || Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Shane Co. || Floral Design: Liz Griffith for Cori Cook Floral Design || Invitations & Paper Goods: Spark Letterpress from Wordshop Paperie; Dinglewood Design || Music: Ribbons & Strings Ensembles; A Music Plus || Catering: Epicurean || Cake: Sugar Bakeshop || Rentals: Yonder Floral & Decor House; Event Rents || Videographer: Aflatis Films || Photographer: Kerinsa
Did you love this beautiful outdoor wedding? Then get inspired by another couple's open-air celebration in the video below.